“Hi Bro Akin wat’s up???????????????????”
That was a message an old friend posted on my facebook wall-to-wall a couple of days ago. On the face of it, there’s really nothing unusual about my friend’s question. I probably know that my friend was simply trying to catch up with me after many years.
I’ve been asked – (and have asked others) – that same question in the past…….a gazillion times perhaps. It is a standard colloquial. So my initial – shall we say, reflex – reaction was to shoot back right away with, “fine, how about yourself?” However something about the question stopped me in my tracks. In a brief moment of reflective thoughtfulness, I couldn’t bring myself to respond with a cliché laced “fine, hw abt ursef.”
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those folks capable of analytical ruminations; I’m usually a fast eater and not given to chewing the cud at all. But this is a very rare moment of insightfulness for me.
So the question I ask myself is, “What’s really up with Bro Akin?”
The answer, my friend, is actually very simple. Bro Akin is up at war that is being fought on many fronts.
The first battle I’ll call the Civil War.
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer (2 Tim 2:4 NIV).
This is essentially my identity crisis. It is a battle to remind myself whose, and who, I am: that I’m, first and foremost, a lean and mean soldier enlisted in the Lord’s army who ought not to get mixed up in civilian affairs.
I’ll be deceiving you if I told you this battle has been a cakewalk for me. I struggle daily to remember that I’m no bloody civilian. I’m scared silly to climb on the spiritual scale, because I know it’ll probably scream back at me,
“Obese, obese, obese!!!! You ain't fit to stand in the frontlines of the battle against the hordes of Hades!!!”
You see I wake up at the crack of dawn each morning. By 4am, on most days, I’m done sleeping already. By the time I’m done with all the morning rituals of accessorizing the flesh it is 5am and I’m pulling out of my driveway, hitting the road and heading for work. And that’s my routine each and every day of the week. So what time do I have to pump the iron for – (i.e. work out) – my salvation? How long do I have to stay in the drill at my spiritual boot camp? We’ll let the answer hang in the air for now.
So why do I rise so early in the morning? I do so because I take – preoccupied with the – thought of what I shall eat, what I shall drink and wherewithal shall I be clothed. I easily forget that I’m much better than the birds of the air: they do not need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because my heavenly Father feeds them.
Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hard work. In fact God abhors the sluggard.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? [Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man (Proverbs 6:9-11).
And there is a rule that applies to all who will not pull themselves up by their boot straps and work:
Whoever does not work should not eat (2Thessalonians 3:10).
Does it then surprise you that I quiver in fright - and pee in my pants - when the principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places, bring on the fight.
I lose many of these battles because I often forget – and probably clueless as to how – to use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle I will still be standing firm.
The battles I win however happen when I'm able to muster enough courage to stand my ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. I surprise myself at those times when I rout the cohorts of hell, by exercising an itty bitty mustard seed faith in the Word of God.
The best days of my life have been those times when I’ve assumed the mindset of a Christian soldier; seeking first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness with laser focussed intensity. On those days it seems as though I have all my ducks in a row. And on those days the sun seems to even shine brighter, pouring forth through a clear blue sky.
Well it does not ever remain that way though. There are still other battles to fight and many more mountains remain to be climbed and moved.
So stay tuned for the second battle.